Diagnostic significance and clinical impact of quantitative assays for diagnosis of human cytomegalovirus infection/disease in immunocompromised patients

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Abstract

In recent years several assays have been developed for quantitation of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in blood of immunocompromised (transplanted and AIDS) patients. It is currently agreed that the only reliable indication of the degree of dissemination of HCMV infection/disease is the measurement of HCMV in blood. Diagnosis of HCMV end-organ disease (organ localizations) often does not benefit from quantitation of virus in blood, but requires detection and quantification of virus in samples taken locally. The most important and clinically useful diagnostic assays for HCMV quantitation in blood are: i) viremia, quantifying infectious HCMV carried by peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL); ii) pp65-antigenemia, quantifying the number of PBL positive for HCMV pp65 in the nucleus; iii) circulating cytomegalic endothelial cell (CEC) viremia (CEC-viremia) measuring the number of circulating CEC carrying infectious HCMV (during the antigenemia assay); iv) leuko- and plasma-DNAemia, quantifying the number of HCMV genome equivalents present in PBL or plasma, respectively, by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). Other less widely used assays are: i) determination of immediate early and late gene trancripts (mRNA) to detect active viral infection; ii) in situ hybridization to detect viral nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) in tissue sections or cell smears; iii) in situ PCR to detect a low DNA copy number in single cells. Monitoring of HCMV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-308
Number of pages16
JournalNew Microbiologica
Volume21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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